Most people take driving for granted, but as they get older, driving can become more dangerous and a topic for discussion. Driver safety requires more than understanding road signs and traffic laws.
As you get older, you’ll likely notice physical changes that can make certain actions such as turning your head to look for oncoming traffic or braking safely more challenging. Still, older drivers can remain safe on the road.
At an older age, you must be safe on and off the road while driving the car. And that means you need to renew the insurance of your car timely. If your insurance is up for renewal, AA Car Insurance new online process is quick, and easy and allows you to save 50% if you have been claims free for five years.
Here are the essential but simple seven tips for the driver getting older in Ireland:
1) Drive when the roads and you are in good condition:
You can improve driver safety by driving during the daytime, in good weather, on quiet roads, and in familiar areas. If visibility is poor, consider delaying your trip or using public transportation.
Beyond road conditions, make sure you’re in optimal condition to drive. Don’t drive if you’re tired or angry.
Never drive after drinking alcohol or using other mind-altering substances. This includes marijuana even if it’s been prescribed to you for medical use.
2) Understand your limitations:
Consider your physical limitations and make any necessary adjustments. For example, if your hands hurt when gripping the steering wheel, use a steering wheel cover that makes holding and turning the wheel snore comfortable.
You might ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist, who can offer assistive devices to help you drive or suggest exercises to help you overcome your limitations.
You might also adjust your vehicle or choose a different car to better meet your needs. For example, vehicles that feature larger, easier-to-read dials on the dashboard are often popular with older drivers.
3) Stash your cellphone and focus on the road:
Driving while distracted is a frequent cause of accidents. Take steps before you go to ensure your ability to focus.
When you get in your vehicle, be prepared. Plan your route ahead of time so that you don’t need to read a snap or directions while driving. If you use a GPS device, enter your destination before you start driving. If necessary, call ahead for directions.
While you’re driving, don’t do anything that takes your focus from the road even eating or adjusting the radio.
4) Stay physically active:
Staying physically active improves your strength and flexibility. In turn, the physical activity can improve driver safety by making it easier to turn the steering wheel, look over your shoulder, and snake other movements while driving and parking.
Look for ways to include physical activity in your daily routine. Walking is a great choice for many people. Stretching and strength training exercises are helpful for older drivers, too. If you’ve been sedentary, get your doctor’s OK before increasing your activity level.
5) Manage any chronic conditions:
Work with your doctor to manage any chronic conditions especially those that might impact driver safety, such as diabetes or seizures. Follow your doctor’s instructions for managing your condition and staying safe behind the wheel. This might include adjusting your treatment plan or restricting your driving.
It’s equally important to know your medications. Many drugs, including pain medications, sleep medications, antihistamines, and muscle relaxants, can affect driver safety, even when you’re feeling fine. Read your medication labels so that you know what to expect from each one.
Don’t drive if you’ve taken medication that causes drowsiness or dizziness. If you’re concerned about side effects or the impact on driver safety, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
6) The best car for older drivers:
If you are considering changing your car as you are getting older consider opting for one with:
- Higher driving position
- Easy access
- Comfortable interior
- High safety rating
To snake getting in and out easy, even with minor mobility issues. Also, consider how the car is powered: a hybrid or electric vehicle may work well for you. Most are automatic and very economical to run.
7) Update your driving skills:
Consider taking a refresher course for older drivers. Updating your driving skills might even earn you a discount on your car insurance, depending on your policy. Look for courses through a community education program or local organizations that serve older adults.
If you become confused while you’re driving or you’re concerned about your ability to drive safely or others have expressed concern, it might be best to stop driving. Consider taking the bus, using a van service, hiring a driver or taking advantage of other local transportation options. Giving up your car keys doesn’t need to end your independence. Instead, consider it a way to keep yourself and others safe on the road.